Over the past few days, Blizzard has given us a handful of sneak peaks and changes to Mistweaver for Shadowlands. First, they gave us the new Covenant Abilities, followed up with a preview of class changes, and lastly, they opened up alpha testing, allowing Wowhead to begin data mining. So we pulled our collective thoughts together to go over our wishlist here are Peak, along with a quick overview of the changes, and they at least feel on paper. Thanks to Dhaubbs, Fatalbones, Garg, and Living for their input and feedback on how Mistweaver is shaping up in Shadowlands.

The Wishlist

Our wishlist breaks down into 4 key categories:

First and most importantly, we would like to see Chi return as a resource to spend. The majority of us would love to see a return to a MoP/WoD style of healing, with damage being your builders, and your heals being spenders (i.e. Jab Jab Uplift). In the current game, there are no comparable builders, outside of perhaps Renewing Mist. In regards to spenders, we only have the mechanic of pressing Vivify as many times as you can without running out of mana, or your Renewing Mist droppingswhich results in a very one dimensional and flat playstyle. 

Second, we would really like a more dynamic AoE heal. Currently, hitting Essence Font and nothing else for 3-6 seconds is considered the optimal approach to raid healing. A possible fix for this would require the removal/adjustment of Essence Font’s healing budget, or moving the raw output of Essence Font away from the bolts, and more into the HoT and its effect. This could introduce a playstyle where pressing Essence Font proactively could be a fun and interactive flow of casts, where you are focused on chasing hots as damage goes out, rather than 3-6 seconds afterwards. In its current iteration, Essence Font bolts are about 75% of its total healing.

Third, we would love more of a dps to healing relationship as we had in MoP/WoD. The design team attempted to reintroduce this with the ability Way Of The Crane (unlocked via the Conflict and Strife essence) and buffs to Rising Mist. However, in practice, you either get A) an ability that kills ¼ of your mana on use, and is hard to control who you’re actually healing, or B) something that produces very (very) linear gameplay where healing approach can be boiled down to: get your 20 Renewing Mists out and then turn into a rsk>bok>tp bot.

Fourth, we would love mastery to become more impactful. As of right now, our mastery has not changed in its transition from live to alpha. We are the only SPEC where mastery has ZERO impact on talents, cooldowns, DPS, and our raid CD, which makes it an insanely weak stat. It needs to scale with our entire kit of abilities, so that it is somewhat useful in all combat scenarios, like every other stat.

Mistweaver Class Updates

Expel Harm is back! Its Shadowlands iteration will heal us, an ally (if we are casting soothing mist on them), and spawn several healing orbs. Sadly though, this spell doesn’t look to be too strong, as it has a high mana cost, does the same healing single target healing as a vivify, and does not scale with mastery. Regarding the second function of the spell, healing orbs are often unreliable in practice, as it is up to other raid members to look for them and pick them up, and at  a pitiful 85% spell power, they are not quite enough to warrant the mana cost (outside of an emergency tank + self heal, which is a very niche situation).

Touch of Death is making its return to all specs of monk as well! This time around, it will allow you to cast it on any target below 15%; if they are below your current health, it will instantly kill them and spawn healing orbs. This is a big plus, as it pushes more dps, and could see some interaction with Fortifying Brew and Invoke Chi-Ji.

Invoke Yul’on, the Jade Serpent is a new cooldown that we receive baseline. It is very reminiscent of Chi-Ji on live, but provides the additional benefit of spawning several healing orbs. The addition of another baseline cooldown ability is always welcome; however, in its current state, it remains at about the same power as BfA’s Invoke Chi-Ji, and WowHead does not yet list the power of the healing orbs. So, either a lot of power is tied to the healing orbs, or this is (yet another) relatively weak cooldown.

Invoke Chi-Ji, the Red Crane has been reworked. It is not a fire-and-forget healing cooldown anymore; rather, it converts all physical damage you do to healing (similar to Way of the Crane). However, our friend Chi-Ji from the previous (BfA) version of the ability rejoins us in this iteration of the ability, aiding us in dealing damage and healing allies. The only problem is that the issue with lack of control of who you actively need to heal remains a point of frustration in higher level content.

Covenant Abilities

We’re almost done covering the changes—but not quite. We have a new system coming in Shadowlands, Covenants, that introduces new class abilities depending on what faction you join. The preview post gives a good overview of how the system as a whole works, so I will skip that and focus just on the one (of, eventually, four) new ability they’ve shown for Monks: Weapons of Order.

For the next 30 sec, your Mastery is increased by 15%. Additionally, Essence Font cooldown is reset instantly and heals nearby allies for (240% of Spell power) health on channel start and end. (10% mana)

From what we see this will be extremely strong for raiding as each aoe pulse is stronger than revival and resets our current best aoe healing ability. So this ability is basically 2 slightly beefier revivals, a reset on your best aoe ability, and an increase to your single target healing for 10% of your max mana. There is one question about this ability, What is the range on the pulse? If the pulse has an alright range (30ish yards) it will be a powerful cooldown. 

Recap & Wind-Down

Alright, that was a lot to cover. Before I roll out my first impressions, let’s have a quick recap of what we know (and/or hope) based on the first alpha build.

  • New: Invoke Yulon, the Jade Serpent 
  • Returning: Touch Of Death, Expel Harm
  • Leaving: Nothing
  • Changing: Invoke Chi-ji, The Red Crane

That’s a good few things that have changed. 

Overall, the changes seem to be in the right direction but highlights major issues with the class such as introducing more spells that mastery doesn’t impact that are supposed to be cooldowns. On a brighting note these changes seem to be pushing us to the older idea of Mistweaver but in a different route that is damaging to heal. All in all I’m excited to see what else they have in store for us and am hopeful for Shadowlands.